Candidate accused of false claims

BAZETTA – Fellow trustee candidate Ted Webb will bring Trustee Don Urchek before the Ohio Election Commission on allegations of false claims in his and others’ published political literature.

Webb presented five statements in Urchek’s political pamphlet before a probable cause panel Thursday morning in Columbus. Only one of the concerns – a claim that Urchek has gained approval for a crossing over railroad tracks to the future fire station on Warren Meadville Road- was accepted by the panel. It will be passed along to the full commission in a Nov. 4 hearing, the day before polls open.

“It’s just another smear to me, like they did at the meeting last Wednesday,” Urchek said.

Urchek did not attend the initial panel hearing, but did have an attorney send a letter of rebuttal. He responded later in the day to the accusations.

The centralized fire station is to be located on five acres of land on Warren-Meadville Road near the intersection of state Route 305. Access from it to Elm Road would require crossing Norfolk owned train tracks. As of yet, this has not been approved.

“I was a little more optimistic that I’d be five out of five. … There was at least something that there was a probably cause to pursue,” Webb said.

The claim in question appears on Urchek’s pamphlet and in a booklet produced by the Trumbull County League of Women Voters.

“We have purchased property for the centralized fire station with a tentative agreement to access Elm Road to cross the railroad tracks,” the pamphlet reads.

The LWV’s booklet, which publishes what candidates send them, reads more affirmatively under the qualifications for office section: “instrumental in securing property and gaining access over railroad tracks for future fire station.”

Fire Chief Dennis Lewis said the township’s lawyer is supposed to be holding a conference call with Norfolk lawyers and the architect to work through the situation.

“We are asking for two easements. You need one for sewer and water to go under the tracks and another over the tracks,” he said.

Lewis said the former is their primary concern before the latter.

He said at this time he is not able to say whether or not the access will substantially affect response times across the township. Webb, however, maintains the crossing would cut down response to the east side of the township by several minutes.

Urchek said while the word “tentative” accurately describes the situation in his own pamphlet, it was mistakenly left out of the form he returned to the LWV while being transcribed over the phone to his secretary.

He said discussions with Norfolk were initiated by him and that he even went so far as including Sen. Capri Cafaro to weigh in on the conversation with the railroad. Before handing off the conversations to the township’s lawyers, he said they seemed very positive about the crossing.

The township currently operates two fire stations located on the East and West sides of Mosquito Creek Reservoir, which essentially divides the township from top to bottom. Trustee Frank Parke, along with Urchek and Webb, are running for two seats in the November trustee race.